Psychiatrist Theodore Soutzos subject of hearing; accused of sex with two patients
August 3, 2010
Hearing: Dr. Theodore Soutzos is accused with having sexual relations with two vulnerable patients, including one who had suicidal tendencies
A 'predatory' Harley Street psychiatrist seduced a suicidal patient before warning her not to tell anyone and destroy his career, a hearing was told yesterday.
Dr. Theodore Soutzos, 45, allegedly told her that doing so would 'kill his mother'.
The patient then threw herself in the Thames, jumped in front of a police car and took five overdoses in 18 days.
The private consultant also had 'improper' relationships with two other patients - an 18-year-old and a woman of 23 with bulimia who he took on holiday to Athens, it was alleged.
In each case he was said to 'elicit personal information' from the women and shower them with compliments before arranging to meet at the National Gallery or Tate Gallery in London.
Soutzos, who charged up to £450 a session and also worked at The Priory, in Roehampton, faces a misconduct hearing over his 'improper emotional and sexual relationships' between 1999 and 2006.
Sarah Plashkes, representing the General Medical Council, told the London hearing: 'This matter concerns Dr Soutzos, a psychiatrist, serially... abusing his position of trust.'
Soutzos was working at Guy's Hospital, south London, when a 37-year- old woman referred to as Miss A was admitted to a psychiatric ward in January 1999.
The 'talented' former illustrator had nearly been killed by her violent ex-husband, was a heavy drinker and was suicidal, the hearing was told.
During their first consultation, the psychiatrist was ' fascinated' by the woman and 'unable to take his eyes off the patient', Miss Plashkes said.
Two months later, Soutzos met her at the National Gallery as part of a 'subterfuge' to take 'another small step which breached the doctor-patient boundary'.
He met the woman several times before telling her he had ' borderline girlfriends' to 'groom her for a physical relationship'.
He allegedly touched her when they went swimming and, after driving her to his flat in St John's Wood, north London, walked around in his underwear.
The pair then allegedly had sex at his apartment. Afterwards, Soutzos said he had to pick up his mother on the way to driving the patient back to her ward, it was claimed.
Miss Plashkes added: 'When they reached the hospital, [the woman] asked him whether they were in a relationship.
'He replied: "How can we be? I am a doctor and you are my patient." He said that they needed to defuse the sexual tension that had built up... She was numb, traumatised, confused and disorientated.'
The following month Soutzos phoned her 'almost hysterical', saying it would 'kill his mother and destroy his career if the details of their relationship came out', the hearing was told.
The patient eventually told police in 2005, after her unsuccessful suicide attempts.
An expert psychiatrist told officers that the consultant's behaviour was 'predatory'.
Soutzos wrote in his notes: 'The psychiatric problems she has developed during her childhood trauma have made her vulnerable to exploitation in every sphere of her life.'
The hearing was also told that the psychiatrist kissed an 18-year-old patient referred to as Miss B and sent her ' inappropriate' text messages.
The student, who was receiving treatment for panic attacks and agoraphobia at the Bowden House Clinic in Harrow, north London in 2003, displayed an attraction towards 'elder men', the doctor noted in his records.
In 2006 the teenager wrote in her diary: 'Theo has a very strong ability to make me equally excited and nervous.'
After kissing him, she added: 'Now it is a matter of waiting to see if I was a conquest.'
Soutzos allegedly began a six-month relationship with Miss C, a 23-year-old bulimia sufferer, in 2006.
At Easter 2007 the pair went on holiday to Athens and Soutzos talked about marriage. But the woman ended the relationship.
About six months later, she was admitted to the Priory Hospital and came across Soutzos again.
After being ignored by him, she complained to her new therapist and the hospital began an investigation.
In 2008 he apparently told The Priory's director he never had a relationship with a patient.
The consultant denies the bulk of 32 charges against him. He denies having a relationship with Miss A but admits meeting her to go to art galleries, and denies a relationship with Miss B but admits sending her inappropriate text messages.
Soutzos admits an affair with Miss C but claims it started after she was discharged.
The hearing continues.
Source: Fay Schlesinger, "Top Harley Street psychiatrist 'preyed on patients for sex and groomed suicidal woman'", UK Daily Mail, August 3, 2010
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